Lost in the craziness that has been Major League Baseball this weekend was a monumental occurrence for New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. Well, monumental relative to his recent production anyway.
The 40-year-old veteran actually entered play on Friday homerless in his first 244 plate appearances this season and 324 overall. But that changed during his third inning at-bat against Toronto Blue Jays starter Mark Buerhle. On a 1-1 pitch, Ichiro got on the board, lining a three-run homer to the short porch in right field to give New York its first lead and decisive blow in a 6-4 victory.
A big moment and meaningful hit that worked the Yankee Stadium crowd into frenzy. However, the best reaction in the house belonged to Derek Jeter, who feigned a stunned look and then gave Ichiro the silent treatment upon his entry the dugout, only to bust out a huge smile.
So very well played, Mr. Jeter.
It goes to show that the old guys don’t just pick on the rookies, although that’s always entertaining too. Just check out how Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and the other Los Angeles Angels greeted Efren Navarro following his first career home run on Saturday night. Off Justin Verlander no less.
That one looked planned out, although someone forgot to give Jered Weaver the memo. Either way, thumbs up to Hank Conger. He absolutely nailed the completely disinterested and unimpressed look.
On the other side, Jeter’s was obviously spontaneous, which makes it all the better. As does the fact he’s targeting another future Hall of Famer. Of course, Jeter could get away with doing that to anyone anyway, but that was a rare moment where his lighter side shone through during a game.
Very cool. Priceless even.
As for the home run hitters, there once was a time when many contended that Ichiro could hit home runs any time he put his mind to it. Those days are long gone now, of course, but that looked like the swing we grew accustomed to watching. Perhaps there are still a few home runs left in him, whether he’s trying to hit them or not.
And the 28-year-old Navarro won’t be ignored any longer either. He’s fit into the Angels lineup very well since they parted ways with Raul Ibanez in June. In 25 games, he’s hitting .313 with eight doubles and eight RBIs, and most of those RBIs have been meaningful.